Saturday, December 27, 2008

No Defense for This Type of Defense

Well if you forgot we had a match yesterday, woke up knowing we didn't have Cesc or Adebayor, and saw that we had drawn 2-2 at Aston Villa, you would have thought it was a good result for us. However, if you actually watched the match, then you realize that we should have been able to hold on for a win. Was it our best performance? Hardly. But anytime you are up 2-0 in the second half you need to be stout enough to hold on for a win. Gallas brought down Agbonlahor for a penalty that Gareth Barry converted, and then our ultimate failure came in extra time. A cross came in from the right side to the left of the box and a simple one touch back in to the middle of the box for Zat Knight spelled our demise. He took the chance well and hit it right into the back of the net as the clock was about to run out.

Looking at the replay just makes you feel sick. It's the 92nd minute in a match that you are leading and we only have three defenders in our box when they are sending crosses in. Why are we so far up the pitch when there is so little time left while defending a lead? It's coming down to the wire and we're letting them pass it around in our box like they're on a damn training pitch. Can anyone really argue now that Senderos is not as good as Silvestre? What was the purpose of buying him? Did Wenger really still think he was a quality player or did he just want an extra body to put in defense? I can only imagine, but he just isn't very good.

While Arsene Wenger is still talking about winning the title, I think our goals must now change. Liverpool are ten points up on us halfway through the season, and are playing much better than us. And while we have shown that we can play with the best teams on our day, our consistency has been awful this year and a realistic expectation needs to be just qualification for the Champions League next season. We are three points behind Aston Villa and Manchester United now, with United having two games in hand. We have only nine wins and five losses so far, which is hardly a statistic to brag about. It will be an uphill battle with Villa playing so well, and I am hoping that a couple of buys in January will strengthen our squad enough to overtake them. In the end I still think we are the better team with better players, but it is the mental side of the game that we must adapt to in order to take back our Champions League spot.

While a lot of the fault does reside in our defence, our midfielders must also be back helping to close down and defend. When we only had three in the box on that last goal they were all defenders. You would hope that you would have some of your midfielders coming back to help in that situation but none of them are even close to the ball.

We've all been over who we think we need to bring in. Some have said Arteta, some have said Xabi Alonso, and still others have been wanting a defender. I think we could probably use all three, but I still want a defender more than anything. Gallas is very incosistent, Toure has not been at his best all year, and Silvestre is just not very good. The problem is, which defender would you buy? I'll leave that up to Arsene Wenger, because he is one of the best at finding talents from abroad. But let there be no doubt that we cannot continue like this.

I must have a little bit today on Bacary Sagna, who was truly inspired yesterday. I've always loved Sagna and he put on one of his best performances for Arsenal yesterday. He was brilliant from start to finish and definitely was man of the match for me. I also will give some credit to Denilson for taking the advantage when a little opening was given to him in the first half. Against the run of play, he struck and we took advantage of it. Credit to him.

So it's on to Portsmouth next, who have been pretty dreadful since Tony Adams took over, unfortunately for him. It is however, a chance we need to take to get three points. The January transfer window is only days away, and we may, for the first time in awhile, see some new players coming in in that window. We need to fight on. The Champions League is not far out of our reach and we have to want it more than Aston Villa wants it. Let's go Arsenal, Come on you Gunners!

1 comment:

GPS Justin said...

Like I told you- get Wenger to 'wise up our defensive side'. This showed against Villa.
Buy defenders and midfielders- we need middle-aged or young defenders, that have either reached their prime or have a little to go.
Again for the defensive midfield position- someone like Gilberto Silva, and another midfield playmaker, like Fabregas.

Goals for the Jan. transfer period would be to buy a good, quality defender, who controls the midfield, (NOT SOMEONE LIKE SENDEROS!!) and a person that could play like Giberto Silva, and/or Fabregas.